Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

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Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:12 pm

Recently there has been several Hades machines that have experienced failiures. These machines are irreplaceable by their vey nature & when such a machine fails the owners get very upset.

Mine is one such machine & I know of at least seven others that are experiencing similar catastophic failure.

Obviously, I for one am absolutely gutted at this prospect & am reluctant to allow this to happen.
So after spending many a long session with Lonny & looking into a few possibilities, It has come to the point where there is little that can be done to halt the trend.
Being sure that this machine has many years of life left in it. I refused to give up with it. Despite unsurmountable odds against me & with little or no help from those I would have expected to offer any, I have been dissapointed to say the least.
So I set about trying to diagnose the collection of faults.

Here is what I have found out so far.

The hades is over 20 years old, Its construction relied upon the tech of the day.
The components are really rare to obtain but are still viable & given that the possibility of any updates are long forgotten & that any access to engineers who would be willing & knowledgeable enough to undertake a repair venture, are as rare as the Valve sets of the early 50's, it's not likely that any good outcome is foreseeable.

In order to diagnose a fault of any kind on this architecture, one must first look at the construction & its methods of that era.

The componets that are passive can be replaced. But as with anything this precious, a skilled hand is required.
None passive and exclusive items need extra special care.
Right,
Age is a major factor in this repair.

The research I have done leads me to the following.
The fiberglass construction of the pcb will over time absorb moisture, apparently this is genuinely so. Removal of same is paramount.
To do this specialised equipment is required.
Solder joints become corroded & suffer stress which lead to microfractures & oxidisation.
This is sometimes hardly noticeable to the naked eye but nevertheless has a significant detriment to the continued function of the circuit as a whole.

Generically this will ultimately lead to failure over time.

Solution, & yes there is one.
Is to bake the board in a controlled environment to extracate any moisture to start with. "Baking" in an oven is highly NOT reccomended.
The uneven and inconsistent heat can and often does turn the board and components into something like the blob from which there is only one place the board will end up.

Not pretty.!

Solder can and does degrade over time also, it by its nature will oxidise which further reduces its efficiency, sometimes the effect of combining the degredation with stress and moisture the only long term outcome is catastrophic failure. This is not to say the failure could not be reversable, just that physical failure to an unrecoverable function is inevetable.

The sensible and correct procedure to recover the degredation and failure is to "re-work" the board and components. This involves exposing the board to controlled heating over a long period of time, starting at a low temperature and then increasing that temperature in stages until the board becomes able to dissapate the moisture. Allowing the oxidisation and polutants to be removed.
Taking the board through this process is delicate work. As the process will inevitably heat up sensative components, some to their heat tollerance threashold & beyond.This is delicate and risky work.

After the board has undergone the moisture removal, it then becomes ready to re-flow, this means to make the old solder melt and become a liquid once again...Again under strict temperature control and conditions.
This is undertaken on a Rework station which is specifically designed to do the task.
It takes a skilled engineer to work one of these stations and is not the kind of thing just anybody should think they can do right out of the box.
The rework station procedure is a long and complicated procedure that will warm the board to up to 200 degrees over a period of time. At this temperature, soldered components that are attached to the board will loosen and can with a specialised tool be removed safely. Not by using fingers, by using a tool for the job. Fingers become a permenant part of the pcb if used..

After a rework, the board temperature is decreased under controlled conditions to prevent joint errors and crack dammage.
When cooled and this can take some time, the board can then be tested for functionallity.


There are no guarrantees this method will work on faulty individual componet connections to the extent that a miracle cure is found. But faced with the alternative, one has to give this fix a go.

There are risks to doing this.
The possibility that in reflowing the board will make the board & components suffer irretrevable dammage.

Whist speaking to people about this idea My son came forward to discuss the issue, offering his advice & insight.
It turns out that for a while now he has been fixing PS3's with graphic issues using the reheat reflow method.
He told me that most boards can be "cleaned up" as such, however, it is not a simple nor straightforward task.
In most cases, PS3's have a 99% success rate. But after a period of time the gpu will fault once again. He pointed out that the constant increase/decrease in temperature caused by periods of operation and dormancy; leads to the fault reoccuring.
Whilst he was refering to the PS3, there are some similarities with other pcb architecture and it would not be uncommon for aged motherboards which are prone to a wide temperature change during times of use; to eventually secumb to similar issues.


I for one am looking to him to offer a solution of sorts to my Hades problem. To this end he has told me he will seriously look at the problem and offer any tech support within his ability and equipment capabilities.

If any other Hades owner would like to go this route, I will endeavour to assist with all possible means. As and when the work is undertaken on mine. I intend to post about the progress. Pic's and all.
Last edited by TTowner on Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:51 pm

Work starts on my Hades soon.
Last edited by TTowner on Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:52 pm

Whe are now looking into actually taking the board through the rework process & in doing so I feel like a dad in a maternity ward waiting on his new child to be born.

Carefull study of the board is the first stage. An attempt to highlight specific areas that require additional work etc.
Source easily replaceable components such as capacitors etc. lift anything that is not necessarily going to be needed during the process, heatsink fan memory etc.
Then start the microscopic analysis of the pads of solder joints that are visible to more closely identify areas of concern..
After this a lot of praying and a modacome of faith is needed.
Once the process starts. it may take a couple of hours or more to finnish, wish me luck!
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby dml » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:52 pm

One of the things you notice when dealing with repairs is that the same small selections of fault tends to recur over and over in the same hardware.

Every construction has its design weak points and these weaknesses are usually orders of magnitude more 'probable' as a first cause of failure than random failures around the board. e.g. solder faults tend to recur at the same site on the board, whether that be down to soldering method (heat flexing stress + BGA = pads work loose over time) or local temperature affecting materials themselves.

Battery-backed devices tend to live 10 or 20 years and then fail. As do electrolytic capacitors. Both can cause catastrophic damage to the PCB (especially leaked batteries).

I suppose what I'm saying is: the cause of death for these machines is likely to be the same in many cases. If you can find the cause in one, it may be relevant for the others.

It might be possible to speed up your diagnosis by studying the design itself rather than looking for random faults although it amounts to the same if you don't have access to the people who built it or reference close to the source. If you are in touch with other people who have the same broken hardware you might also make quicker progress.

Anyway, good luck with the repairs.

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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:37 pm

As of today my Hades is under the repair process.
This may be along and involved endeavour but nonetheless the process has begun.
Right now I am hopefull & bricking it at the same time.

Initially the board went under inspection.
The flux that was around one of the main components has been properly cleaned up & some suspect dry joints were found. The Caps at the rear of the board are going to be renewed as a matter of course.
Any loose, dammaged & or poorly connected items will show up in the next stage.
This initial stage is the equivilant of baking the board in your domestic oven (Absolutely not reccomended) only under strickly controlled conditions.
Sim sockets have been sourced for rplacing the dammaged ones & a 75mhz Cpu is on standby just incase the origional is not going to function.
As the work progresses, I hope to bring you more updates.

Image
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby lp » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:15 pm

Good luck. I bought a used Hades after mine died. Trust me I had proof that it worked before I did it, however it arrived dead. I knew the risks, but I did it anyway and I am very sure the seller did not intentionally rip me off. I tried swapping parts with a 3rd dead board with no luck. Now I have 3 non-working boards. :(

I suspect the board was flexed in transit and the PLCC sockets are already known to be extremely fragile, plus add in its age.

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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:44 pm

Sorry to hear this bad news Lonny M8..
If this works it may just open the door for others to repair theirs.
As i said I intend to post about the ongoing repairs.

Currently the board is cooling after its heated session to remove moisture etc.
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby Dal » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:47 pm

Good luck TT - keep up posted. Really hope it comes back to life
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:55 pm

Dal wrote:Good luck TT - keep up posted. Really hope it comes back to life



Cheers m8. Fingers Xssed hey!
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:11 pm

As a byline to the activities I just looked for a programmer for the custom xillinx chips and came across this http://www.xilinx.com/support/documentation/customer_notices/xcn07022.pdf
http://uk.farnell.com/xilinx/hw-usb-iig/cable-program-config-usb/dp/1649384?CMP=KNC-GUK-FUK-GEN-KWL
http://www.xilinx.com/onlinestore/program_solutions.htm
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=XILINX+-+HW-USB-IIG+-+CABLE%2C+PROGRAM+%26+CONFIG%2C+USB&oq=XILINX+-+HW-USB-IIG+-+CABLE%2C+PROGRAM+%26+CONFIG%2C+USB&sugexp=chrome,mod=10&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
E thingy has a bunch of cheep programming stuff http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_from=R40&_kw=XILINX+CABLE
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Xilinx-Platform-USB-Download-Cable-Jtag-Programmer-for-FPGA-CPLD-C-Mod-XC2C64A-/261096809445?pt=UK_Computing_Other_Computing_Networking&hash=item3cca9523e5&_uhb=1
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/JG-048619-Used-Xilinx-PARALLEL-CABLE-IV-DLC7-PoWeR-5V-02A-/121010483629?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c2cc971ad&_uhb=1
Ask if you would like a pdf guide on Jtag programming.


I did mention I have a version of the program software did I not?

I can only presume that any older programmer HW is in the back of users cupboards somewhere.
But this may offer some comfort and a new solution to program-re-programming the IC's.
Maybe someone in the know could do something with this info?
Finally here is a list of 3rd party companies that offer programming solutions

http://www.xilinx.com/support/programr/yel_pages.htm

Software needed for Jtag programming
Xilinx design suite 14
http://torcache.net/torrent/D1DF3AFAB6DB20906DB95669C3570AC415E646B8.torrent

Driver for usb interface
http://www.eng.yale.edu/ee-labs/morse/app_help/USBInstall.htm
http://www.digilentinc.com/software/adept.cfm
http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?Prod=ADEPT
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby lp » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:44 pm

I think someone told me the programming software has to be licensed to run, and after the license runs out the software stops working. The company stopped selling the license. Even if you find it, it might not work. Maybe you can find out if that is true? Could save you a lot of time.

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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:53 pm

Ok, the Hades has come back washed dried and moderately revamped.
The moisture content of the board is less than 2%, always a good sign.
The base of the board. solder side has had a complete joint melt and fresh solder on.
Hope to god that is all good.
The next step is a leap of faith.
Re do the fitting back of CPU and other bits removed for the reworking and fit back in the case.
Place finger on the power button, close eyes tightly & press.
I will let you know the outcome.
Fingers crossed.
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby wongck » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:43 am

Good luck mate, hope it works !!! :angel:
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:14 pm

Ok fitted the Hades back and powered it up.

What do you know?

All that work for a door stop.

Ok, onward. Now to take it appart.
Starting with the caps & power reg at the rear of the board. then the next thing is to try to work the Sim sockets.
Will be methodically working this till I see a picture again.

Suggestions on a microchip anyone?
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby lp » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:27 pm

Oh man. That had to be disappointing.

After Fredi saw the screen shot with the odd bars, his first response was check the LBUS socket. If you are going to tear into it, just dive in and replace the PLCC socket, or just remove the socket entirely and solder the chip right to the board. I know of two people who have done this and both machines came back to life. If you ditch the socket you can't update the board, but the odds of that are pretty slim anyway.

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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:05 pm

Point me to it & I will look at doing it.
Back on messenger m8 come talk.

Does the Hades have any boot code embeded on its IDE drive?
How many Hades owners have not got their origional IDE drives in situe?
Could this be an overlooked issue?


Another idea, what would happen if the video card was populated by 8 meg instead of 2?
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby lp » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:54 pm

LBUS is the largest of the three PLCC sockets on the board.

Standard off the shelf IDE. Its all in the modified TOS. Mine ran 10+ years with some used drive I found on ebay.

The TOS has enough smarts to get the hades up in monochrome regardless of the ram on the video card. Just turning it on is enough to know. You would get in to big trouble with the driver though, if the driver loaded and its the wrong card. In that case you likely get a blank or garbled screen after the mono boot logo.

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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby wongck » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:27 am

TTowner wrote:All that work for a door stop.
Ok, onward. Now to take it appart.


Oh man, but I am glad to hear that you are not giving up.
Look at this video @ 0:17:44 to 0:18:40 on Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.
You have just hit a brick wall but The brick walls are there for a reason.

The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby TTowner » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:22 pm

Spent the afternoon shopping and have found all the xilinx chips online.
Replacements are there and limited stock, but definately there.

Anyone fancy a brand new Hades?
A re-engineering firm has been found xilinx components have been found a chip programmer & hardware needs to be found. A manufacturing plant is out there.
68050/60/chips are available. Leaving not much to source.

All we need now is a similar effort as the Firebee into modernising the design of the board to include usb, sata, ps2 and better memory chips not needed edo will do.
After all it would seem that providing a source of components can be found & a re engineering of the board can be done very easily enough & nothing is impossible hey Fredi?

So, if you are not interested in helping us Fredi will you relinquish your grip on the Hades project & pass on the remaining technology to those who are still interested?
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby lp » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:22 pm

As clones go, in my opinion its the best one ever made if one doesn't let the cost skew their view. :wink:

The hand drawn schematic that he sent me, which might be his original design, as impressive as it is, is not good enough to reproduce the board. You would need Fredi to give you everything and I just don't see that happening. Why not just write him and ask and get it over with? If he says no, then you are right back where you were.

My plan is to hold on to it until I can find someone able to remove the three PLCC sockets and solder the darn chips right to the board. If it don't work after that I'm done with it and the board becomes a museum piece.

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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby Dark Willow » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:16 am

I don't see the point in Fredi holding on to the schematics for the Hades, as it seems pretty clear he has no plans to produce more of them.

That said, though I agree the Hades is the most ambitious of the clones, I don't see the point in reviving it in competition with the Firebee. Though I like the idea of a true m68k system, modernising the design is a huge undertaking, and with so many peoples effort being dedicated to the FB, I'm not sure the resources of the community will be there to push forward a Hades II project as well.

If the demand really is strong enough for a new 060, it might be easier to create a FireBee variant rather than update the Hades to something which would end up being pretty similar.
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:14 pm

tony

stop man you need to diagnose a problem using cold tests using the diode range on an lcd meter

this will tell you far more

for instance if a pin on the bus is 'stuck ' to state
then cold tests will show this up
some address pin reads low even a pci port with a small shard of wire inside it

it WILL lead you back to the exact chip!!! or port
because as you move the meter probe over distance
the reading will lesson as you get nearer to the chip etc with the stuck pin

you must do this step before randomly test by replacement

use a 4 dp resistance meter on diode range

i want to help

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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby alanh » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:12 pm

lp wrote:As clones go, in my opinion its the best one ever made if one doesn't let the cost skew their view. :wink:

The hand drawn schematic that he sent me, which might be his original design, as impressive as it is, is not good enough to reproduce the board. You would need Fredi to give you everything and I just don't see that happening. Why not just write him and ask and get it over with? If he says no, then you are right back where you were.

My plan is to hold on to it until I can find someone able to remove the three PLCC sockets and solder the darn chips right to the board. If it don't work after that I'm done with it and the board becomes a museum piece.


I hear you lp !!!

I think over time the PLCC sockets are brittle and are seperating with heat.

Given I've just upgraded my Hades to 1GB, I have been bumping into some weird issues. Flexing the board at a certain point makes my Hades boot up 100% of the time.

I've just isolated it to the big LBUS Xilinx chip socket too. If I use my fingers to pull the PLCC socket tighter to the chip, then the machine boots 100% of the time.

I'm either going to resolder a new PLCC socket, or use a tie-wrap around the existing PLCC socket. The only issue with the tie-wrap is it's got to be thin as there's a component in the way that needs dealing with.

But anyone who has a broken Hades, definitely look at replacing or tie-wrapping your PLCC sockets !!!
Falcon CT60, Falcon CT63 x2, TT x3, MegaST x2, MegaSTE x2, STFM x2, STE x2, STacy, STBook, (Dead) Hades 060, Milan 060, T40.

alanh
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby alanh » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:47 pm

Tie-wrap didn't work as it seems to separate it even more at some points. Re-solder time......
Falcon CT60, Falcon CT63 x2, TT x3, MegaST x2, MegaSTE x2, STFM x2, STE x2, STacy, STBook, (Dead) Hades 060, Milan 060, T40.

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lp
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Re: Light at the end of the tunnel for Broken Hades

Postby lp » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:12 pm

alanh wrote:Tie-wrap didn't work as it seems to separate it even more at some points. Re-solder time......


I will reiterate one thing. When Fredi was contacted about my specific problem he was given a screen shot of the weird bar-graph like display. Without hesitation and to the point he said, check the connections at LBUS as if its a common/known problem. Perhaps a good thing I never bothered with the 1gb of ram as I may have killed it sooner than later. I believe the used Hades I had shipped from Germany was in good working condition when it left, but it took one good bounce and flexed the board.

Will be interesting if you sort it out. Best of luck!


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